Millions of Texans have lost their jobs or had their incomes impacted by the economic fallout during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a public health protection measure, the federal government announced a nationwide halt on evictions for nonpayment of rent from September 4 until December 31, 2020.
While the actions provide temporary renter solutions, a potential eviction crisis still looms in the distance. As a result, the State Bar of Texas has collected the following resources for the public.
This page will be updated as more resources become available. To suggest resources to be included on this page, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stop TX Eviction
Texans struggling to pay rent and facing possible eviction can turn to a new website — stoptxeviction.org — to find a step-by-step tool kit designed to help them understand the eviction process and their rights.
Stop TX Eviction is available in English and Spanish. There, renters can:
Obtain important documents to give a landlord or judge,
Learn about rental assistance and how to apply for it,
Apply for legal assistance from an agency that provides free legal services to qualifying individuals,
Chat with a lawyer about eviction-related questions, and
Learn about the new Texas Eviction Diversion Program, which intends to use $171 million in federal money to help tenants remain in their homes.
Texas Eviction Diversion Program
The Texas Eviction Diversion Program is designed to coordinate state agencies, local governments, nonprofits, and the court system to help renters avoid evictions and make up their back rent payments.
The program became effective on October 12 in 19 pilot counties. To learn about the program and whether it can work for you, go to txcourts.gov/eviction-diversion.
Federal Eviction Moratorium
As noted above, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an order protecting certain renters from eviction for nonpayment of rent from September 4 through the end of 2020. Here are some resources to help you understand the moratorium:
CDC Eviction Moratorium– TexasLawHelp.org
National Eviction Moratorium: FAQ for Renters - National Low Income Housing Coalition
Evictions Cancelled - New Protections for Tenants (video) – A video explainer created by Lone Star Legal Aid
The moratorium requires renters to submit a declaration of qualification to their landlords.
Multilingual declaration forms can be found here:
Renters may also use this online declaration form generator found here.
Legal Services Hotline and Provider Directory
The State Bar of Texas Disaster Legal Services Hotline—800-504-7030—connects callers to legal aid agencies in their area where attorneys can review the individual circumstances and provide limited legal assistance to low-income individuals.
Low-income tenants facing eviction whose landlords are not recognizing the federal moratorium or who are trying to force tenants to vacate their properties for non-payment of rent should immediately contact a legal service provider. Use the hotline above to be connected with an organization in your area. The hotline is answered in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese.
The State Bar of Texas Legal Access Division’s 2019-2020 Referral Directory of Legal Services and Other Resources for Low-Income Texans also offers a searchable county-by-county breakdown of legal and other services across Texas. It can be found at texasbar.com/referraldirectory.
Online Tenant/Landlord Educational Resources
COVID-19 and Texas Landlord/Tenant Law – Texas State Law Library
Eviction Facts 101 (video) – Houston Volunteer Lawyers
COVID-19 Eviction Answer Toolkit – TexasLawHelp.org
COVID-19 Eviction and Other Resources – Lone Star Legal Aid
Texas Tenants’ Rights Handbook – Texas Young Lawyers Association
Navigating the Eviction Process in Texas (video) – Texas RioGrande Legal Aid
General Facts about Evictions in Texas – TexasLawHelp.org
Self-Representation (Pro Se) Eviction Help Guide – Houston Volunteer Lawyers
Appealing an Eviction – Texas RioGrande Legal Aid
Hotels/Motels vs. Residential Tenancies: When Eviction Protections Apply – Texas RioGrande Legal Aid
Eviction Protection Assistance in Texas – Texas State Affordable Housing Corporation
Individuals needing food assistance or other social services can call 2-1-1 to find a list of services in their area. The 2-1-1 community information service is available 24 hours a day. People can also access 2-1-1 Texas online at 211texas.org to search via topic such as food, health, housing, and more.